From Russia with Love (1963)

1963. The Cold War still rages…as much as a war with next to no combat whatsoever can rage…American tension with Russia is at a high.  Naturally films saw this and so many films based themselves around this ‘conflict’. Naturally the Bond series followed suit and so the next of Fleming’s books to be adapted to the big screen was From Russia with Love.

The films revolve around a plot by SPECTRE to steal a Russian decoder (the Lektor) whilst trying to humiliate Bond for the murder of Dr No. Bond must foil the plots of SPECTRE and their agents Rosa Klebb (played by Lotte Lenya) and Red Grant (played by Robert Shaw), whilst wooing Tatiana Romanova (played by Daniela Bianchi ).

Ya know those films that other people really like but you think are alright at best but not really your thing? Well for me this film qualifies as for a lot of people, this is on of the best Bond films. I think this can be attributed to the major change in style. Instead of being like Dr No and pretty much a straight out action film, From Russia with Love is more like a spy thriller, less action than it’s predecessor. This is not to say that I didn’t find good things about it. The acting is great and the Bond girl is still very attractive. The action, though somewhat less than Dr No, is still great. The characters are memorable, although not really the Bond girl she was slightly boring. The villains in this film are memorable though. Klebb’s final scenes with her dagger show are famed throughout popular culture and Red Grant ranks amongst the best of the Bond villain henchmen and the fight scene in the train is pretty damn awesome. This film also marks the first appearance of Ernst Stavro Blofeld, head of SPECTRE. I say appearance but we never really see him, more of an outline and this matched the same sort of techniques used to hide Dr No in the first film. This builds tension and makes Blofeld seem like a real villain. I also like the way the whole humiliating Bond idea links back well to the first movie, something that is rarely done in this series. The best point about this film though is the introduction of the gadgets, and, although the only real one is the attaché case, it’s still pretty awesome. Finally the song is just brilliant. Matt Monroe has such a deep soothing voice it’s wonderful and Russia with Love is on of my favorite Bond songs.

A good movie and I respect it for trying something a little different but the feel of it is just not for me. nevertheless it has many good points.


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